Title: Enigma: The Best of Jeff Hardy
Synopsis: I thought I’d get you all hyped up for the upcoming Volume 2 DVD so here we go! This 2 disc feature released in 2005 covers Jeff Hardy’s first TNA run from June 2004 to April 2005. That TNA produced this DVD with only 10 months of footage available tells me that they were more interested in making money off Hardy’s popularity than making an exciting and comprehensive collection of his TNA matches.
Reasons to Buy this DVD:
Jeff Hardy vs AJ Styles X Division Title Match (June 2004)
Jeff Hardy’s TNA debut at their second anniversary show. The pop that followed his entrance was one of the greatest in TNA history as the fans went absolutely crazy. It gave off that atmosphere you rarely get anymore in TNA, when you know that you are witnessing a real moment (apart from Don West’s ridiculous line: “He can literally win the X Division Belt.” As opposed to figuratively winning it? Come on, Don!) A genuine moment that will be remembered by TNA fans for years to come. Okay so we all know how his TNA career is going right now, but that’s irrelevant. On this night the crowd was delighted to see him. And against AJ Styles no less!
Alas this dream match of sorts did not exactly live up to the hype. We got some good action for about ten minutes, but before they could kick it into third gear Kid Kash and Dallas (Lance Hoyt/Vance Archer) interfered which is annoyng but really you can’t have Hardy lose in his debut, but neither can you book a newcomer (even an established star like Hardy) to dethrone your X Division Champion (especially when the champion here was the number one star in the company at the time) so really they had to go to a non-finish somehow. Still Hardy and Styles got the better of the heels in the end though. A fitting way to start the DVD.
Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles and Ron the Truth Killings vs Kid Kash, Dallas and Monty Brown (August 2004)
This six man tag is an exciting main event from one of TNA’s weekly Pay Per Views at the TNA Asylum. It’s fairly formulaic and it’s sloppy at times, but I enjoyed it and it builds to a nice finish. It’s also interesting seeing the kind of roster they had at the time. Monty Brown was so over that one would wonder why he was on the heel team. TNA really dropped the ball with him. R-Truth hasn’t added a single new move to his repertoire in seven years (in fact I think he’s even dropped a couple since then). Kid Kash had some real heat from the crowd and he applies a sickening submission on Styles. He could really teach the young guys some things when he returns. Overall good stuff.
Jeff Hardy vs Jeff Jarrett Ladder match (Victory Road 2004)
The previous Hardy vs Jarrett match was disappointing (see Reasons to Avoid) but this time around both men are determined to see TNA’s first ever three hour Sunday night Pay Per View end on a high note. Granted it’s a little sloppy (they botch a sunset flip attempt twice) but it’s heated and intense … until the ending when Kevin Nash shows up. Still I liked how they kept the stunts simple. With effective story-telling even a basic spot is incredibly dramatic, like when they were both on a ladder and it tipped over. Nothing too flashy by today’s standards but the crowd were on their feet. A fine ladder match.
Jeff Hardy vs Abyss Falls Count Anywhere (Destination X 2005)
Far superior to their botch-filled attempt at Against All Odds the previous month, Hardy and Abyss took to the crowd early and brawled their way to the back where Hardy hit a spectacular Swanton on Abyss from a scaffold structure from about twelve feet up sending them both crashing through two tables. But they weren’t done there. Fighting back to the ring they traded more high impact spots including a leaping leg drop over a ladder from Hardy and an awesome top rope power bomb from Abyss which drove Hardy through a table. I hate to spoil the ending but I will say that the Twist of Fate Hardy uses on a ladder shows more light than John Cena’s STF, but apart from that the match was very exciting and the aftermath results in one of the sickest bumps ever (at least back in days when the thumbtacks spot hadn’t been done to death).
Jeff Hardy vs Raven Six Sides of Steel Tables match (Lockdown 2005)
Okay I’m being generous here. The match is not exactly a classic and at one point both men seem to fall off the top rope because they weren’t cooperating. But I’ve seen worse and besides a Tables Cage match was tailor made for these two. What wins me over here is that they emphasise the TNA rules that you can only win if you actually put your opponent through the table. It’s a little thing I know, but it guarantees that there will be no screwy finish like at Turning Point 2007 when Team 3D dragged Jay Lethal onto the remains of a broken table and won the match. To stress this rule Hardy attempts a Swanton off the cage and crashes through a table as Raven gets out of the way, yet the match continues. It makes a big difference. There’s also a nice shot of a fan (who was presumably dragged to the event by her husband/boyfriend) covering her eyes in disgust, which the announcers shamelessly point out to convey the brutality of the match. The finish is pretty good too. Again not the best match on the set, but still worth a watch.
Reasons to Avoid this DVD:
Jeff Hardy Contract Signing (July 2004)
I’m ordinarily against including segments alongside matches anyway (it would work better as a bonus feature) but this one was bad. The segment was about Hardy officially joining the TNA Roster which is fine, but get this: as part of his contract he got a guaranteed NWA Title match against Jeff Jarrett! I mean in what universe does signing on a dotted line make you worthy of competing for the World Heavyweight Championship (hey maybe I should sign with TNA!). Even worse was that after the table gets flipped over and the brawl begins (because as C.M. Punk pointed out that’s how all contract signings end) Jeff Jarrett gets the better of his future opponent with a guitar shot which not only makes Hardy look weak in his debut, but makes him look (even more) like an undeserving Number One Contender.
Jeff Hardy vs Jeff Jarrett (September 2004)
This gets off to a promising start with both men going straight for each other and brawling so violently (Jarrett blades) that the referee just skips the introductions and calls for the opening bell. But then the match goes downhill from there. Jarrett immediately goes for the Figure 4 without trying to wear down Hardy’s legs which made no sense. They fight to the outside where Hardy hits a nice flying Clothesline from the top rope onto Jarrett in the crowd. But after that they brawl through the audience for a while and when they get back in the ring they run through their signature moves and finishers, until Dusty Rhodes and Vince Russo show up and then we get the distraction/guitar shot sequence with Jarrett retaining. For a match so hyped up beforehand, this was just rushed and unsatisfying.
Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles and Randy Savage vs Jeff Jarrett, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (Turning Point 2004)
It pains me to say that this six man tag (which for the most part is a 2 on 3 Handicap match) was the last match of the Macho Man’s legendary career. Jarrett, Hall and Nash come out dressed in Elvis costumes as part of their “Kings of Wrestling” gimmick (it also pains me to call them by that name. Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli would destroy them!) and take on Hardy and Styles in a slow match which seems to go on forever until Savage (God rest his soul) shows up and applies a sleeper hold and a right hand on Jarrett for the win. Probably not the match Savage wants to be remembered for.
Jeff Hardy vs Scott Hall (Final Resolution 2005)
What you’d expect basically. Roddy Piper’s the referee for some reason and if I remember right Hardy was filling in for the absent Hector Garza (who was involved in legal issue said Mike Tenay). This match doesn’t go too long which is something of a relief but it’s very forgettable and Hall spends most of it selling and trying to cheat (Piper removes several weapons after searching Hall before the bell). Not something that should be featured on a DVD with the words “Best of” in the title.
Too many short matches
Half the matches on here are from Impact and have commercial interruptions which means we only see about five minutes (if that) of each match. And there were some good ones too like Hardy vs Monty Brown, a six man tag (Hardy, Styles and Truth vs Team Canada) which lasts about four minutes, and a potentially decent tag team match pitting Hardy and Styles against the Naturals, that all ended before they really got going. I know that some of you out there prefer more TV matches than PPV matches, but in this case none of the TV matches feel like they have any consequence.
The sole bonus feature is footage of Hardy filming his music video “Modest” and then what’s billed as the final video which actually ends after half the song. Pretty lacklustre in my opinion.
With the benefit of Hindsight TNA might have waited a little longer before producing this DVD. Had they waited until 2011, they could have added all of the above to their upcoming Jeff Hardy DVD and produced a 3 or 4 disc collection of Hardy’s entire TNA career in one package, and that would have been one hell of a package.
But at a time when only AJ Styles and Raven had their own DVDs I can see TNA’s motivation for dedicating their third set to the Charismatic Enigma. In 2005 he was one of their most popular acts and simultaneously one whom they were not sure could be relied upon long-term. If he was really gone after the Summer of 2005 (he wasn’t of course) then they may as well have cashed in while his run was still fresh in the fans’ minds. I can see their motivation but I can’t condone it. The result is that rather than having a collection of Hardy’s best matches it feels more accurate to call it a collection of whatever was available from that ten month period.
Don’t get me wrong there’s some good stuff here, some very good stuff in fact. But if you’re not a serious TNA collector or a Jeff Hardy fan/mark/creature of the night, I wouldn’t recommend this one unless you can pick it up as part of a deal of some kind.